By Jim Amato

Poor Floyd Patterson. Everyone loves him but not everyone respects him as a fighter or champion. You rarely here his name tossed about when the topic of all time great heavyweights is brought up. What a shame!

Who is to blame for the heartbreaking oversight? People tend to forget that Patterson thrashed Archie Moore much more impressively then Marciano did the night he became the youngest man ever to win the heavyweight crown. Still when a ” Dream Match ” between Marciano and Patterson is talked about, Floyd is quickly dismissed… Simply put, Rocky had the PUNCH and Floyd did not have the whiskers.

After the Moore victory, Floyd would make ” safe ” defenses against guys like Pete Rademacher, and Tommy ” Hurricane ” Jackson. Floyd then had his chin exposed by Ingemar Johansson. To Floyd’s credit he became the first heavyweight champion to regain the title by halting Ingo not once but twice. Finally Floyd fell to the ham like fists of Charles ” Sonny ” Liston in one round. Sonny repeated the one round trick in their return match.

I feel that the losses to Liston helped to make Floyd a better overall fighter. The ” New ” Patterson took on ALL comers. Fighters that he had ” avoided ” were met and beaten. The new Patterson was raising some eyebrows. Although Floyd fought and lost to a prime time Muhammad Ali in 1965, he had earned that right to another title shot by defeating Eddie Machen and George Chuvalo. Floyd would come right back after his loss to Ali and destroy the respected Henry Cooper of England. He later fought a draw with an up and coming Jerry Quarry.

When Ali was stripped of his title for refusing to be inducted into the Army, the W.B.A. set up an eight-man elimination tourney to determine a new champion. Floyd was among one of the eight selected. Floyd drew Jerry Quarry as his first tourney opponent. This time Jerry won a hotly disputed decision. Quarry went on to upset Thad Spencer and then lose to Jimmy Ellis in the ” championship ” bout.

Floyd had been so impressive against Quarry that he was matched with Ellis for Jimmy’s W.B.A. title. On a cool night in Sweden almost everyone thought that Floyd had done enough to win the verdict and regain the crown. Poor Floyd… The referee and sole voter gave it to Ellis.

Floyd would come back to win nine in a row including a points call over the rugged Oscar Bonavena. This led to another match with the now without the title Muhammad Ali. Floyd fought his heart out but could not overcome the bigger, stronger and faster Ali.

Patterson never fought again.

Jim Amato

Filed under: Boxing

Readers Comments (4)

  1. Chris Guzman

    Easily my favorite heavy of all time. So under-appreciated and misunderstood. Ali called him “the finest pure boxer” he ever faced, and that’s in the greatest class of heavies there’s ever been! I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Patterson twice in Canastota years ago. Very nice, cordial man. . . signed autographs as long as folks were polite. I pride myself on my collection of vintage Patterson memorablia, and I dare say that it’s got to be one of the more inclusive Patterson collections out there. There’ll never be another Floyd!

  2. Jim Amato

    Well said Chris !

  3. Anonymous


  4. EZ E

    Well, mayber it was because he no longer had Cus to protect him with defenses against the likes of amateur Pete Rademacher, Brian London, limited and crude “Hurricane” Jackson and Tom McNeeley. Oooops, I forgot ‘Cut’n Shoot’ Roy Harris. Without the title he fought Machen, Chuvalo, Bonavena and both Quarry and Ali twice.


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